Australia’s semi-final clash versus India at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday is being billed as the unofficial World Cup Final. The two teams have won the title six times between each other, and are considered the two big powerhouses in world cricket.
Australia has won the World Cup title four times, and has made it six times to the finals of the championship. Based on their past ODI record, they are the favourites — Australia has won five of the last 10 ODI matches played between the two nations, while India has won three — two matches did not have a result.
Both teams pack several match winners, and the clash on Thursday promises to be a high-voltage encounter. Ex-cricketers and players from test playing nations have made their pre-match predictions, most placed their bets on the Aussies.
- “They are a very good team and because they have spent so much time in Australia, they know the conditions quite well. The game on Thursday is going to certainly be a challenge” — Michael Clarke, Australia Captain
- “I think we targetted them pretty well this summer. They haven't won a game against us all through the summer. Hopefully that is pretty clear in their memories.” — Glenn Maxwell, Australia Batsman
- We have obviously played them a lot this summer in both formats," said Hazlewood. "I would say we have the wood over them a little bit in that regard, winning the tri-series." — Josh Hazlewood, Australia Pace Bowler
- "I think it's a pretty good attack, it's not completely balanced though because I think they lack top class spinner. That's the only weakness I can see in the line-up, other than that I think, you know, it's a good combination because they can swing the ball," — Ian Chappell, Former Australia Captain
- “India are peaking confidently. They have lifted their energies well. Whether they have enough fast, accurate swing will be the key, as Mohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav can go walkabout. So far they have gelled with their leader and are flowing along smoothly. Their ability to take enough wickets in the semi-final, possibly against Australia, will be the one single factor to decide India's fate.” — Martin Crowe, Former New Zealand Cricketer, Cricinfo
- "It will be a great contest as it involves two extremely competitive teams. India have shown a lot of consistency but at the same time Australia have a lot of quality in their ranks. It will be a good match but I will rate Australia's chances as slightly better in the semi-finals. I believe Mitchell Starc's performance could be a decisive factor," — Geoff Marsh, Former Australia opener and chief coach.
- "Playing in Sydney they will miss a good spinner. That could be the difference, because spinners have had a lot of success in Sydney and Imran Tahir did well the other day. So that could be a problem for Australia.” — Mishbah Ul Haq, Pakistan Captain.
- "There's no rocket science they're bowling well, they're batting well. They're going to be tough to beat,"
— Aaron Finch, Australian opener Cricbuzz
- "I think the Sydney pitch will be very similar to the one we used in the game against Sri Lanka more than a fortnight ago when almost 700 runs were scored, so I think this will be another high-scoring affair," — Darren Lehmann, Australia coach
- "I think we'll have a little edge over them with a few scars from the matches throughout the Summer, they didn't beat us once," — Steve Smith, Australia Player
- "There is something about Dhoni and World Cups. Dhoni knows how to win World Cups and that goes quite a long way. What he did after the tri-series is remarkable. I really do think it is a 50-50 caller. India has got the power and finesse," — Former England captain Michael Vaughan
- "I think India do have a very good chance to win the game. I will obviously always back Australia being an Australian player. But having said that, India have got a great side and have great momentum going. So as I said it is going to be a tough game and I am looking forward to Thursday." — Brett Lee, Former Australia fast bowler
- ""We've played the right kind of cricket and the difference now is how our bowling attack has come into play in this World Cup taking 70 wickets in seven games. That's probably been the difference, and if we continue to do that we have a great chance come game day." — Virat Kohli, India Batsman
- Why AB De Villiers Deserves To Be In The Pantheon Of Top 10 Batting Legends
- When Dhawan Goes Big, India Go Bigger
- This New Zealand Team Could Go The Distance
- McCullum's NZ At The Doorstep Of Long-Term Ambition
- Why MS Dhoni Is The Best ODI Captain Of This Era
- Why Rohit Sharma's 137 Against Bangladesh Was His Greatest Yet